(Also, join my friends who are taking part in this 31 Days by clicking on their buttons on my tool bar on the right.)
In January, I had the opportunity to speak to Heather Schultz from The Pink Dress Ministry on the issue of health. Below is an outline of that conversation which fits so perfectly for our 31 Days of Wellness. Enjoy.
1. For those who didn't get a chance to read your bio, tell us a little about your background and some of your experiences that brought you to living a healthier lifestyle today.
I was raised in an active home, and grew up playing sports. As a young gymnast, I developed poor eating habits. I became involved in school sports, but the poor eating habits remained and I was putting on more weight than I should have. After some injuries, I became even unhealthier. Throughout this time, and throughout my life, I was teased for my big legs, I was told I was “one of the guys” and things like that. I had coaches who berated me in front of gyms full of people. Part of me knew I was strong and worth more than what their words told me, but as time went on I believed the lies more than anything else.
2. When you were struggling with being, as you said, "unfit and unhappy," how would you say it affected the way you felt about yourself?
It affected everything! I hid behind my humor and quick wit, and decided boys were just dumb since none were asking me out. I became accustomed to hearing “If only I could find someone like you” which really meant, “I think you are great, but I am not at all attracted to you.” I did not like who I was, especially when I looked in the mirror. There were few positive things I could or would say about myself. The end of Matthew 6:25 says, “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” For me, what food I was going to fill my life with consumed me.
3. Would you say that oftentimes living an unhealthy lifestyle and having a poor self-image go hand in hand? Why or why not?
Definitely! When we don’t feel valuable, we don’t take care of ourselves because we don’t feel we are worth the time and effort. We are also likely to sabotage our own efforts, like I did. I would workout then go get some fast food, and upsized it too! When I felt like this, I didn’t like going to gyms because I felt like everyone would be focused on me and my unhealthy body, and was sure they were thinking the same negative thoughts I had about myself.
I have begun to realize that we allow food to become our god and stuff ourselves with as much as it as possible. We are choosing unhealthy meals and portions and trying to fill what only God can. 1Cor 6:13 states, “food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.” We are putting food, because it is necessary for survival and the only way we seem to know how to fellowship, as a top priority. Our bodies were created to glorify God, and we are destroying them by believing lies this world tells us and by choosing unhealthy lifestyles.
4. Would you agree, that oftentimes women in general struggle with weight due to low self-worth, or do you think having low self-worth stems from being unhealthy? Why?
This could be a whole podcast in and of itself! I honestly think that low self-worth leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. From what I have experienced, the vast majority of individuals, especially women, who struggle with their weight and health have some sort of abuse in their past. Whether it is physical, sexual, or verbal, the abuse suffered leads to an incorrect view of oneself. Therefore, we don’t feel like we are good enough and stuff ourselves, literally. In an effort to protect herself, an abused woman will attempt to make herself undesirable, that way she feels safe, that she will be left alone, and that she is now protected. Excess fat, in most cases, is a shield and defense mechanism. We get tired of being hurt, so we adopt unhealthy lifestyles in order to keep others at bay.
1 Cor 6:15 says our bodies are a member of Christ. Let’s think about that. How are we representing him? I am rather sure that Christ’s body was not overweight, unhealthy, and unable to get through the day. In that scripture, we are given eternal value and worth, and that blows my mind! That is the truth we need to wrap our mind’s around: we are HIS! In order to do his work, we have got to get healthier because right now we are a diseased and unhealthy body.
5. Now, I know you've given me some really great advice in the past when I've come to you and said, "Michelle, I need help. I'm feeling sluggish and have no energy. I try to eat right, but I still can't seem to lose the weight that I want....what do you recommend?" So, for our listeners out there, what are some tips or advice you have for those who may be saying, "Hey, I'm tired of feeling this way, but I don't know what I need to do at this point."? What are some things you recommend?
I would recommend AdvoCare products, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and eating foods that are God made. The more natural a food is, the better it is for your body. If it is processed, just say no! We also need to move more and change our ideas of what exercise entails. Dance in the living room with your kids, play a game of tag, just find something you enjoy. You do not have to spend hours in a gym, recent studies have shown that just 10 minutes of movement will improve your health. You will not become really toned and defined that way, but 10 minutes of movement is better than none!
I came across an interesting verse the other day, Prov 23:1-3 which says, “When you sit down and dine with a ruler, consider carefully what’s before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for it is deceptive food”. I am sure there is more to this verse than what my mind thought, but as I read this, it struck me that not being able to control our appetite, for food and so much else, is not what God wants for us. Put a knife to your throat? This is serious! God wants first place in our life, and He is the only one who can fill the voids we are trying to fill with food and only God can restore and redeem our brokenness. We can talk about plans all day long, but until we sit down and find out why we are choosing unhealthy lifestyles, we will not become healthy. The programs will not work, fully, if we are not allowing God to do a mighty work in us to fix what we, and others, have broken within us.
6. What would you say to the person out there who has given up - maybe she has tried every diet known to man - or maybe her schedule is so demanding, she just can't fit in the time to make healthier choices (like exercise, etc.)?
First and foremost, you are worth it. Sister, you are so worth it. God has created you at a specific time in a specific place and you are worth it. You are worth the efforts, you are worth the time, you are worth the change. If no one else has ever told you that before, then listen closely to what I am telling you: YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Take one step at a time. One week, choose to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. The next week, limit or avoid all simple and processed sugars. Small changes, over time, will create healthy habits.
As far as exercise, do what you enjoy. If you do not care to go to a gym, there are some amazing workout videos out there. Or, involve some friends and meet for walks a couple days a week. Cut out the TV and the computer and other distractions and just be for a moment. Sit and breathe, let your mind and body relax, and remember: you are worth it!
7. Not only do you help people with exercise regimens and eating right (obviously b/c you're a fitness trainer), but you also have a business operated out of your home that others can benefit from as well. Would you care to tell us about that?
AdvoCare is a premier health and wellness company offering world-class energy, weight-loss, nutrition, and sports performance products along with a rewarding business opportunity.
We have an incredible Scientific &; Medical advisory board who develop, research and test our products, unpaid endorsers, and Drew Brees recently became our national spokesperson.
AdvoCare products are safe, and they work. As an 18 year old direct sales company, AdvoCare is growing and improving every year. Lives are being changed in areas of health, finance, and personal growth. The opportunities are endless, and their products are honestly the only nutritional supplements or vitamins I will recommend. With these products, I know I am getting the best nutrition available, and I have more energy than ever before.
8. Is there anything else you'd like to say to encourage us women to live a healthier lifestyle?
John 4:34 says, “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.’” It is time for us to be about our father’s business, to glorify him, with every aspect of our lives and stop picking and choosing. It is time to allow Him to take his rightful place in our lives and time for us to take better care of the bodies he has given us. The healthier I am, the better and more able I will be to serve Him and others. I cannot be about my father’s business if my body is unhealthy and I do not think I am capable. It is time to trust God at his word, and believe we are worth it, we are valuable, and we are important. We are loved by the Creator of this universe and He wants us to know that. We are worth it, so very worth it. And the journey to healthy living will be worth it.